Kit Costs

Whether you're going to volunteer to teach children how to stitch or you're going to teach at a commercial needlework festival, you need to know your per-student kit costs.

A rough number can let you study class feasibility. An exact number can tell you about costs of doing business. This class may be a nip-and-tuck profit-maker if your kit costs are too high and your class is not full.

For some kinds of kitting (usually festivals on the national level, charity, or educational outreach), some kinds of product are given gratis. This includes such items as floss, fabric, and needles. Gratis product lowers kit cost tremendously, which means either a higher profit for you or a lower kit cost for your student. If you use gratis product, it is a good idea to place somewhere on your handout that "special thanks are given to ___ for their support" or for whatever the product was. After the event, also write to say thanks.

If you are teaching at a national festival, staff should be able to provide you with a list of companies which have agreed to offer gratis product for class kits (or sell at other discounts).

As I mentioned in the file on designing a piece for a particular target market at a festival, if you will be reimbursed for kit costs by the festival, it is unethical to list gratis product on your reimbursement claim. Don't inflate kit cost by the amount you would have had to have paid for the product if you had had to purchase it.

One more thing about gratis product: use it for the purpose it was intended. That is, give each student the full measurement and leave the manufacturer's label on it. Don't measure off one-yard pieces of floss, for example, in order to keep as much of the gratis product for your later retail kitting needs. This is also dishonest.

A generous kit predisposes the student to like the class even before it begins. Why scrimp when manufacturers will give you gratis product for your kits? The manufacturers are making -you- look good! Don't shoot yourself in the foot!

For some situations, gratis product is not available, but you may be able to arrange a price that is below wholesale or to have a minimum order amount waived. Other times (as when teaching at a shop which will provide kit items), you may be able to arrange for materials at wholesale. And of course, there will be times when you must pay full retail, but with careful planning you can avoid this and thus keep your kit costs down.

Zweigart will cut your fabric to size at no additional cost. This is a huge time-saver, but more important for me, if prevents a nasty flare-up of RSI, just when I don't need it most (if that makes sense!).

Kreinik now offers half-length spools of silk threads (2.75 yards) in both Silk Mori and Soie d'Alger. This will help keep costs in check if your design does not need anywhere near the 5.5 yards on a full skein.

Kreinik also offers short-spool lengths in blending filament and other metallics. Contact Kreinik for current details.

Here are the numbers I use for rough estimates. These are *full retail.* Adjust for gratis product or any discounts when you figure your kit costs. There may have been some price changes, but these numbers should work pretty well.

Numbers are in dollars and cents without the dollar sign. Fabrics are Zweigart. Floss is DMC except where otherwise noted. Metallics are Kreinik. Beads are Mill Hill.

Fabrics

14-ct cotton Aida .02 square inch
25-ct synthetic (Lugana) .02 square inch
28-ct linen (Cashel) .03 square inch
14-ct Aida .02 square inch
14-ct Aida .02 square inch
14-ct Aida .02 square inch

Other Kit Items

.10 needle
.10 9x12 zipper bag
.02 2x2" zipper bag
.20 photo
.05 per pg. photocopy
DMC cotton floss (__-yd sk)
DMC Rayon floss (__-yd sk)
DMC Metallic floss (__-yd sk)
K BF (_-yd reel)
Kreinik #4 (__-yd reel)
K #8 (__-yd reel)
K #12 (__-yd reel)
Caron Wild flowers (SM skein __ yds)
Caron Watercolors (sm skein__ yds)
Caron Waterlilies (sm skein __ yds)
MillHill glass seed beads (__-oz. retail pkt, ___ bds)
MillHill glass petite seed beads (__-oz. retail pkt, __ bds)
MillHill glass SM? bugle beads (__-oz. retail pkt, ___ bds)

Take care to list the product by its complete and proper name on your kit contents list. If you are unsure, call the company for specifics. Another place to look is needlework magazines.

For example, in discussion with other stitchers you might say, "I'm going to use Kreinik #4 here," but in your handout you should list it exactly as Kreinik specifies: "very fine (#4) braid."

Incidentally, Kreinik has prepared a card with their thread products listed with their proper names, an excellent aid. This card also gives examples of how to list their products in a kit contents list and in a color key for a magazine or leaflet.

Also make sure you have the color number correct and add (tm) or (r) descriptor, as shown on the product label.

copyright 1999, Martha Beth Lewis
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